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10 Ways You’re Doing Black Friday All Wrong

This Black Friday, use our insider secrets to make smarter purchases, waste less time in lines, and score better deals for everyone on your gift list.

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Taking the first deal you see

The beauty of Black Friday is that every store is competing to get you through their doors, so don’t make your final purchase at the first store you visit. If there are other stores nearby that have similar products, head there before making any purchases, or use a price comparison app to make sure you’ve ID’d the source of the best value. Watch out for these 13 things deal sites won’t tell you.

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Not downloading price comparison apps

Sure, you could shlep from store to store or mall to mall—or you could look at your smartphone for two minutes. Price comparison apps offer the easiest way to price-check items on the spot. Download one or two and refer to them before you make any purchase. Remember: Just because something is less expensive doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you have to go well out of our way or pay expensive shipping online, a slightly higher price may be a better value.

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Not making a list

With so many deals and bright, look-at-me displays, it’s easy to get distracted. Create a list of everything you need and go right for those items when you get into the store. Once everything is in your cart, you can go exploring for other deals potentially worth taking advantage of. Check out these invisible ways stores trick you into spending more money.

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Buying coffee out

You’ll be dealing with lines all day long. Start your morning by fueling up at home, including making coffee. The Starbucks next to the mall will have a line out the door—and set you back the price of at least one stocking stuffer. Bring snack packs from home to avoid food lines too. Coffee drinkers, allow us to introduce you to Brown Friday: a plumber’s busiest day of the year. 

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Going over budget

When you draft your list, write down the max price for every item you want to buy. Don’t forget to tally a total budget as well—and stick to it—so you’re not paying for your big holiday buys after gift-giving season is well behind us. With Cyber Monday and all the deals leading up to Christmas, there’s no reason to shell out more than necessary. If going over budget is a regular thing, it could be a sign that your shopping is out of control.

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Shopping with friends

If you have a long gift list or if you need very specific items, you’ll need to move fast from one store to the next. Instead of making it a shopping day with friends, head out on your own so you can be as mobile as possible. And don’t dismiss the idea of regifting, which is increasingly socially acceptable. Here’s how to regift like a pro.

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Buying toys

Use Black Friday to get expensive items such as a TV, furniture, and other major electronics. Don’t waste your time looking for toys—you can get those later: “Toys in general are almost always cheaper in the first two weeks of December,” Dan de Grandpre, CEO of DealNews.com, told businessinsider.com. These modern methods will help you find great Black Friday deals. 

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Buying based only on price

Some higher quality items may be more expensive when you compare them head to head with lower quality items, but that doesn’t mean the cheaper one is a better value. A brand name product with a huge price reduction is likely a better deal than the item that’s cheap and inexpensive every other day of the week. These 7 Black Friday deals aren’t as good as they seem.

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Not knowing the true full price

Your favorite smart TV is marked down to half-price, but have you considered how expensive it will be to use the features? To use the apps available through the TV, you’ll need subscriptions that likely have a monthly fee. You may even need to increase your Internet speed, which can also be pricey. Suddenly the new TV is not such a fabulous deal after all. These companies have the greatest Black Friday deals.

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Forgetting about Cyber Monday

Black Friday has always been known for huge rollbacks on big purchases like TVs and computers. Now, with Cyber Monday, you may find better deals on tech items online. High-tech products and gaming consoles are commonly marked down on the second biggest shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday. These are the 12 Cyber Monday deals you’ll want to memorize ASAP.